Our pick of the best views in the South Island of New Zealand

November 27th, 2013 by wayne

New Zealand’s South Island is a land of dramatic contrast. Rugged snowy peaks cut through pristine greenery and lead towards a sandy coastline. The South Island of New Zealand has some of the best driving routes in the world – making travelling through this wilderness a real pleasure. New Zealand’s native animals flock to the area, as the alpine forests provide sanctuary and a place for them to flourish. The South Island also plays host to some of New Zealand’s most vibrant towns and cities. These make perfect pit stops, and allow you to really immerse yourself in our Kiwi culture as you holiday around New Zealand.

Selecting just the ‘best views’ in the South Island is no easy task. Our team at NZ Campervans believe that every view form your campervan will be one you will want to remember – but here is our pick of the ones you will be keen to boast about when you return home:

1) The majestic fiord of Milford Sound in Fiordland

Renowned around the world as the best example of a natural fiord – Milford Sound is a place of untouched and unchanged beauty. The rocky cliffs that surround the fiord are sharp and dramatic and flow downwards to clear, deep water. The underwater environment of the fiord is diverse and unique – filled with rare aquatic life that is able to thrive in the pure waters. You will be left in awe at the raw natural wonder of the area – where dense native forest meets the water, and sharp cliffs seems to rise magically from the depths. Capture your view of this place from cruise boat and truly immerse yourself in the beauty of the area.

2) The glacial peaks of the Franz Jospef glacier, West Coast

For many countries around the world glaciers are retreating and diminishing but in New Zealand, the glacial wonder which is Franz Josef flows to almost sea level. Its daunting size is matched with its dramatic icy twists and turns – making the glacier the steepest and sharpest in the world. The Franz Josef Glacier was discovered in 1859 and is a frozen landscape filled with deep ravines and ancient river valleys. The Franz Josef glacier is unique because of its location, plummeting from high above in the Southern Alps and carving its way through cracked rocky ravines to feed the Tasman Sea. Take a guided tour of the Glacier and experience the striking views from the top.

3) The tranquil sandy bays of the Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough

The very top of the South Island plays host to warmer weather, long sunshine hours and an environment filled with pearly white, sandy bays. Ancient river valleys that have sunk into the deep waters formed the remote Marlborough sounds, and provide the diverse and picturesque environment we are able to enjoy today. Hills and mountains covered in dense native bush rise dramatically from the sea’s edge and provide shelter and privacy for each inlet and swimming beach. The Marlborough Sounds can be explored by boat, by sea kayak or by foot on one of the many hiking tracks that traverse the area. You will enjoy the remote, untouched beauty of the Sounds and remember the up close encounters with the native wild life that inhabit this pristine place.

4) The lights of Queenstown from the surrounding mountains

The South Island town of Queenstown is a picturesque little place, with a lot of charisma. Nestled beside the pure waters of Lake Wakatipu, the town is an exciting mixture of tranquil natural experiences and adrenaline pumping thrills. The landscape is filled with dramatic mountain peaks, pristine lakes and river ways that are carved through rugged cliffs. The town is framed by natural beauty and offers an abundance of heart stopping experiences for the thrill seeking inclined to enjoy. Bungy jumping, river rafting and skiing are all on the menu – so be prepared to be busy when you visit this intriguing town. The views from on top of the neighbouring ski fields will leave you mesmerised. Queenstown is certainly a place to write home about.

5) A glimpse of ‘Middle Earth’ in Lord of the Rings country, Glenorchy

Come and really experience the magic of Middle Earth in this rustic and rural part of the South Island. The remote area of Glenorchy famously played host to the Lord of the Tings trilogy and is a remarkable mixture of deep forest and dry, rugged mountains. The raw rustic beauty of the area – which was captured by the films – is ready to be experienced first hand. There are tours operating in the area which take you into the depths of Middle Earth and allow you to become part of the film strip. Explore by foot, air or jet boat and grab your own slice of movie magic. The township of Glenorchy is also not to be missed. A vibrant and lively pit stop, Glenorchy offers exquisite local food ready to be sampled and wines from the surrounding vineyards available to indulge on. Your friends and family will really be envious of your time in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world.

Our ‘best views’ are just small snippets of what you can expect from your travels around the South Island of New Zealand. We know that your time here will be unforgettable – so get involved, get exploring and get ready to create some lasting memories here in the deep south. 

How to set up your campervan?

November 27th, 2013 by wayne

When you first step inside your campervan it is a really exciting feeling! Welcome to your home away for home, your adventure portal, and the magical machine that is going to transport you around this beautiful country! You know that this vehicle is going to lead you on many exciting adventures and also become your sanctuary – a place for you to rest your weary head and body after a full day of exploring.

It is really important to set up your campervan well – getting the basic set up right will mean a successful and stress free journey. Luckily for you the team at NZ Campervans are experts, they have been on many campervan trips and know exactly how to make sure your home away from home is a pleasant and relaxing place to be!

Step One: Explore your surroundings

When you collect your campervan make sure to pay attention to what the team at the depot say. Their instructions are the golden key to success – knowing how to correctly set up the beds, light the gas cooker and empty the waster water is essential. We know you are eager to hit the road, but spend that extra bit of time becoming familiar with your campervan before you leave the depot. If you can’t figure out how something works, it is much easier to find the answers from the security of the depot – rather than in the middle of a remote forest!

Step Two: Sort our your stuff

Travelling in a campervan can be a bit of tight squeeze – with all your gear and the treasures you will collect along the way. It’s a good idea to unpack your belongings and sort out where you are going to store it. Campervans have some pretty nifty storage options, with cupboards hidden down low near the floor and even some above your head. Put the things you are going to need regularly in easy to access spots (so don’t put your underwear in the cupboards beneath the beds!) Try rolling your clothing to save space in the cupboards and make use of the storage options in the drivers cab too. The side cubbies and dashboard glove box are great spots to pop your cosmetics and toiletries.

Step Three: Time to stock up

After you have unpacked and feel at home it is time to stock up on supplies. Head to the nearest supermarket and grab a trolley – you will end up buying quite a few treats (trust us!) Make sure you stock up on essentials, so things like toilet paper, paper towels, insect repellent and sunscreen. It is also a good idea to buy things like shampoo or deodorant in one of the main cities – as the rural supermarkets will charge more for items like these. Your rural stops are the perfect place to buy your fresh produce however, as you will find many roadside stalls that offer great bargains. Don’t forget to buy some drinks and treats to enjoy while your driving, there is nothing better than a handful of chips to revive yourself when you are on a long trip. Investigate the food storage options in your campervan – some will provide a fridge/freezer while others have only a cooler box. You don’t want to buy a big container of ice cream if you don’t have anywhere to store it!

Step Four: Layout and lounge about

When you have arrived at your first stop for the night it’s time to get down to business and convert your campervan into your home on wheels. Get out the outdoor furniture and utilise the outdoor space. Grabbing some outdoor furniture as an additional extra (if your campervan doesn’t come equipped with some) is something you won’t regret. You will just love being able to covert the beautiful outdoor space around you into your own personal living and dining area. When it comes to sleeping, have a practice setting up the beds while there is still some light – makes things much easier first time round. Once you have settled into your new environment, relax and enjoy the novelty of being surrounded by pristine native forest and try and spot some of our wildlife – they aren’t shy!

Step Five: Cleaning up and heading out

The next morning can bring with it a bit of a clean up (depending on how much you ‘enjoyed’ the night before!) Make full use of the bins in the camping grounds. They will offer both general rubbish and recycling facilities – so off load as much junk as you can. This is also the best opportunity to empty your wastewater. There are dump sites throughout the country but some can be a little tricky to locate – so get rid of your waste before you head off. New Zealand is a pure and beautiful country (which is why you have come here) so help us keep it looking good and be responsible with your trash. It is also a good idea to put your belongings back into their storage space before you jump on the road. Doing this now will mean less work later and allow you to enjoy your next location without having to worry about sorting out your stuff.

We hope our tips and tricks will make your campervan experience in New Zealand one to remember. You will find your own unique ways to best enjoy your campervan journey as you travel – and sharing those with your fellow campers you will meet along the way is always a great idea! Exploring in a campervan is the best way to fully experience this amazing country – so good call in hiring one.

What do I need to bring for my Campervan holiday around New Zealand?

November 26th, 2013 by Chris

Embarking on your first campervan adventure is a very exciting time. Travelling around our beautiful country will become one of the most memorable holidays you will ever have. So what does the eager traveller need to bring to ensure their New Zealand campervan experience is just as good as they have imagined? We asked our team of travel consultants to put together a list of things that they felt were essential for the best campervan holiday ever!

One of the most important things to bring all on your holiday is a sense of adventure. The freedom and flexibility of a campervan allows you to spend time exploring different sights and sounds every day. You can stick to an itinerary or go freelance and explore at will. The team at NZ Campervans recommend you leave some of your holiday schedule open – because you will likely find yourself going off the map a little as you work your way through this pristine country. The best thing about a campervan is that it is your home away from home. So go on and indulge yourself – spend another night by that beachside or explore further into the wilderness. 

New Zealand’s climate can be ever changing – which is what makes this place so exciting. The top of the North Island is a sub tropical oasis, while the lower South Island is in winter an icy play land. So that you can actively explore every inch of this country it is important to bring a variety of clothing. You will definitely want to pack your swimwear and sunscreen, but also pop in a warm jacket and hat! 

There are many winding roads and hidden tracks within New Zealand, which make for some of the most picturesque driving in the world. It’s important that you don’t miss the right roadway or miss out on a remote path through the mountains when you are travelling – otherwise you won’t get those unforgettable photo moments! We suggest hiring a GPS unit when you book your campervan. It truly will become your best friend as it guides you through the rugged mountainous peaks that make up New Zealand. 

You will want to remember every second of your campervan holiday in New Zealand. Especially that moment you got to come face to face with a seal or when you bungy jumped into the rocky gorge! We suggest investing in a good quality camera – these are the moments that you will remember for a life time, so why not capture them in high quality? You won’t regret purchasing a camera that will really showcase your New Zealand images – every member of your family is going to want to see them again and again!

One of the highlights of this country is the stunning natural environment. Being in a campervan means you can literally sleep at the beach’s edge – so make sure you hire outdoor furniture for your holiday. Eating beside a beautiful beach and enjoying a beer by the water is unforgettable. Most campervan companies offer a good range of outdoor furniture; grab a table and chairs so that you can really get amongst the natural beauty of New Zealand. 

The team at NZ Campervans know that your campervan holiday around New Zealand is going to be exceptional – how can it not be when you are exploring such a beautiful place? We hope our tips and hints help you to make the most of every minute here – Kia Ora, Haere Mai and enjoy yourself in Aotearoa! 

Enjoy some culinary delights while exploring beautiful New Zealand

November 26th, 2013 by Chris

New Zealand is home to some of the freshest most unique cuisine in the world. Our location in the pacific allows us to feast on delicious seafood and our distinctive climate encourages beautiful produce to grow. We farm exceptional livestock and our fresh open air farms, mean that our meat products are world renowned for their flavour and variety. Our wine industry is famous – and New Zealand is hailed as producing the best wines in the world.

Exploring New Zealand by campervan allows you to taste and experience food from every inch of our country. Why not enjoy tasting the best food from each region as you traverse the countryside? 

Your campervan comes with cooking facilities for you to enjoy creating some unique masterpieces with the produce you collect along your travels. Gas cook tops, fridges and an array of cooking equipment and supplies will allow you to whip up something unforgettable – all in the comfort of your home away from home. 

If you are travelling through the South Island of New Zealand you must try the fresh beef, lamb and pork that is farmed under the shade of the mighty Southern Alpine mountain range. The livestock are free to roam in a beautiful natural environment which is what gives the meat such distinctive flavour and tenderness. You can purchase this quality meat from any supermarket and add your own touch by using some fresh organic herbs before cooking it to perfection in your campervan.

Further up the coast of the South Island is New Zealand’s premier wine region of Marlborough. This region is one of New Zealand’s sunniest and driest areas, which provides the grapes with a long, flavour-intensifying ripening period. This gives the wines produced here their unique pungency and zesty taste – which is why wines from Marlborough are sought after around the world. You must stop and purchase a least a couple of bottles of Marlborough wine to enjoy on one of your many restful stops along the coastline.

If fresh and flavoursome seafood is what tickles your palate, then a stop over in the top of the North Island is a must. This area of New Zealand is surrounded by pristine, pure waters – where an abundance of sea life flourishes. New Zealand native fish species and shell fish are all on the menu. You can even try your hand at catching some of this divine seafood yourself with a fishing charter experience. Or if you wish to sit back and enjoy the taste explosion; simply purchase your fresh catch from one of the many beachside marketplaces. There is nothing more ‘Kiwi’ than devouring a Crayfish on the white sandy beaches, with a glass of wine in hand. 

Exploring New Zealand is as much about tasting our food and produce as it is about exploring our natural wonderland. Take the time to stop at local markets, collect a diverse range of delicious food and enjoy the freedom of cooking it in your Campervan. New Zealand will definitely leave a good taste in your mouth…